- “The Twilight Zone” ran from 1959 to 1964 and explored many topics that are relevant today.
- In one episode, the show explored the idea of robots taking over people’s jobs.
- In other episodes, the show addressed climate change, immigration, and surveillance.
“The Twilight Zone” was an anthology show that ran from 1959 until 1964. The television series, hosted by Rod Serling, told the tales of alternate realities, possible futures, and other stories that centered on science fiction themes and concepts.
Here are 10 technological advances and issues that the show predicted that are relevant today.
“Midnight Sun” predicted climate change.
In the episode “Midnight Sun,” earth has deviated from its orbit and is moving ever closer to the sun. The protagonist, Lois, attempts to survive the heat inside of her apartment as her landlady dies from heat stroke. Lois then wakes up to realize that she had been living a nightmare brought on by a high fever.
Lois’ dream showed an exaggerated version of something that scientists say is actually happen — climate change. Extreme highs and lows, as well as more intense natural disasters, are expected to get worse if global warming is not addressed in future years.
“The Brain Center at Whipple’s” showed a future where factory workers were replaced by robots.
In “The Brain Center at Whipple’s,” businessman Wallace A. Whipple replaces his employees with automated robots to increase productivity and save money. As he confronts a fired worker, Whipple defends his actions: “Two of those machines replace a hundred and fourteen men who take no coffee breaks, no maternity leaves, no vacations with pay!” At the end of the episode, Whipple himself is replaced.
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The episode was ahead of its time, predicting automated workers and laborers outsourced, as well as a disparity of wealth between corporations and underpaid employees.
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“He’s Alive” reminded audiences that racism and hatred will always need to be confronted.
“He’s Alive” imagined a universe where Adolf Hitler was alive and in hiding, advising new Neo-Nazis like protagonist Peter Vollmer on how to lead through violence and fear. The episode ended with Rod Serling’s narration as Volmer was killed by the police: “Anyplace, every place, where there’s hate, where there’s prejudice, where there’s bigotry … he’s alive. Remember it when you hear a name called, a minority attacked, any blind, unreasoning assault on a people or any human being.”
Serling’s warning is prescient today, with mass shootings, hate crimes, and bomb threats in every news cycle. Ignorance and evil are still rampant today and will continue to thrive as long as society remains complacent.
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